Winter Babywearing

Kindercoat keeps parent and baby warm in cold weather.

How do you babywear in cold weather?  As it turns out, there are many options.

  • Babywearing outerwear specifically designed for accommodating the two of you and the babycarrier.  Babywearing outwear comes in the form of coats, sweaters, jackets and ponchos.  Some are for cooler weather than others.  Some are water resistant.  Some are made from natural and some from synthetic materials.
  • Babywearing covers that cover the baby and baby carrier for warmth, but do not cover the babywearer (who would wear their own coat).
  • Larger winter coats for the babywearer to wear that are big enough to close around baby as well, so that both are inside the same coat.  Mens coats, swing coats and A line coats are all good options, buttoned up just as far as baby’s neck.  As baby and wearer would be sharing the same head hole, it may be necessary to wear a scarf or shawl to cover your neck and chest between the two of you.
  • Traditional shawl, poncho, or pashmina can be wrapped around both of you.  Wool is an excellent material for warmth, water resistance, and breathability.
  • Bundling baby within the carrier, and wearing your own coat on top.

Wrapping Baby on Back on top of Winter Coats

Some people do their bundling (mother and baby in winter gear) and then put the babycarrier on top of all the coats, as in the photo above.  This is not my favorite option as coats can be slippery and unsafe to babywear over, and the bulk can make it tricky to get a comfortably tight carry.  It also eliminates the babywearing benefit of having baby close enough to hear your heartbeat, smell you, etc.  Also, your warmth is the best way to keep your baby warm so I like to avoid layers between you.  However, in some circumstances it works great and it is nice to have the option.

If you want to wrap over Winter gear, consider that you may need a longer wrap than you are used to (or learn shorter carries that you can do with your wrap).  You will not have as much flexibility once you are bundled up, so opt for simple carries with fewer layers or easy to spread passes.  And look for warm sweaters, jackets, and coats that are not too puffy or slippery for you both to wear under the wrap, like sweaters and fleece.

 

Choose warm layers that are not puffy or slippery to wrap over in the Winter.

It is easier to wrap over winter clothes that are not too bulky or slippery so you can get a snug, comfortable, and secure carry.

You should also think about whether you will want yourself and baby to stay bundled up when you get to your destination.

If you’re going to the mall or grocery store, you’re not going to want to be wearing coats when you get there, and you will probably still want baby wrapped up when you get there, so it will be most convenient to NOT have baby bundled up inside the wrap.  One coat over both of you is easiest to remove and carry.

 

You can use a big coat to go over you AND your wrapped up baby in the Winter.

Putting one big winter coat over you and your baby carrier allows you to take advantage of each others body heat and also helps keep baby from overheating because your bodies can regulate better and you are experiencing the same temperature as your baby.

If you’re wearing your toddler to the park where he will want to get down and play, then you will want baby out of the wrap, but with his own coat.  I find it works well to wrap the baby up with his arms out of the wrap, and then put the coat on outside of the carrier.  His arms will go into the sleeves, hood will go over his head, and the coat will remain open, covering his back outside the wrap while his front is toastily pressed against yours.  When you get to the park, you pop him out and you and he leave your coats on and button them up at this point.

 

Putting an adult coat on after wrapping baby on your front.

You can also bundle baby up within the wrap and then put your own coat on over the top, either leaving it open in front or zipping it up part way, under baby.

Front Cross Carry is the perfect winter carry because it is “poppable” which means that you can tie it on at home and put baby in or pop baby out without retying.  This makes it very fast to come in and out of a wrap so that you and your baby are not shivering in the cold while you get wrapped up.

Keep in mind that babies are not supposed to wear coats in carseats if the seat belt has to be adjusted looser to accommodate the extra bulk.  A blanket over top of the baby once strapped in is a safer plan.  So if you are driving, you want the easiest way to keep baby bundled up on the way to the car, and from the car to the house, without a baby coat or bunting.  If you don’t have other things to carry or other kids hands to hold, and your car is just out in the driveway, it may be easiest to simply carry your baby in a blanket or under your coat, climb into the car, close the doors, and get him buckled in and tucked in.  When you get to your destination, you can either wrap baby up while sitting in the back seat (may take some practice or a roomy vehicle), or carry bundled baby into the mall (for example) and then wrap him up once you are inside.

If you like the idea of a babywearing coat, but lack the funding, consider making your own:

make a babywearing poncho

make a zip-in insert to turn your regular winter coat into a babywearing coat

convert a coat to a babywearing coat for back carries

Deluxe KinderCoat keeps you both warm in a front, hip, or back carries.

A babywearing coat can be the most convenient way to keep warm, especially in very cold weather.

Comments 7

  1. Tad wrote:

    I’ve never had a wrap big enough, so I’ve always gone with a BabyBjorn close to the skin, then coats on top. That’s worked for us all the way up to Quebec where we were there for an outdoor grand opening at 0°F:

    http://www.scientologyparent.com/day-161-bundled-up-for-the-quebec-grand-opening/

    Posted 03 Nov 2010 at 2:10 pm
  2. sarah wrote:

    There is now a company that manufactures the zip-in inserts for a pretty reasonable price. You can check them out at babyWAWL.com.

    Posted 02 Nov 2011 at 4:50 pm
  3. Rachel wrote:

    Have you seen the Winter Sling Thing? I’ve got one and it has been really useful in the cold weather and much better than trying to keep a blanket tucked around my baby!

    http://folksy.com/items/2666125-The-Winter-Sling-Thing-Fleece-Cover-for-Baby-Carrier

    Posted 28 Jan 2013 at 9:31 pm
  4. tryxus wrote:

    I sewed my own all-season carrier cover:
    http://tryxusdesign.blogspot.hu/2013/09/baby-carrier-cover-part-3.html
    I will use this one. :)

    Posted 03 Sep 2013 at 6:42 am
  5. Diana wrote:

    Awesome–thanks for the link!

    Posted 05 Sep 2013 at 11:52 am
  6. sia d'souza wrote:

    I was in search of baby warm clothes online and found this blog. This is really nice and very helpful , discussing about the various dresses. Now i can for some ideas. Thanks

    Posted 07 Oct 2014 at 8:31 am
  7. Jennifer Morrow wrote:

    I use baby Bjorn to carry my baby, it almost covers up the baby and then I wear the coat to cover up the baby whole skin.

    Posted 09 Oct 2014 at 6:19 am

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